Common and Lima Beans (Phaseolus spp.) from Cerén: Wild and Domesticated Germplasm

Author(s): Venicia Slotten; David Lentz

Year: 2015


Archaeological investigations at Cerén, a Classic period Maya site in western El Salvador, have unearthed an abundance of carbonized bean remains, both Phaseolus vulgaris and P. lunatus. Surprisingly, the Cerén P. vulgaris bean remains were derived from both wild and domesticated populations. This find reveals that the Late Classic inhabitants continued to draw upon wild food sources even though they had clear access, as seen in the Cerén paleoethnobotanical record, to a full array of domesticated food crops. This discovery not only offers insights into human behavior patterns of the past, but also has implications for explaining the genetic interchange between wild types and cultivars. In turn, these data help elucidate the interpretation of the multiple origins of Phaseolus domestication and the proliferation of its varieties.

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Cite this Record

Common and Lima Beans (Phaseolus spp.) from Cerén: Wild and Domesticated Germplasm. David Lentz, Venicia Slotten. Presented at The 80th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, San Francisco, California. 2015 ( tDAR id: 396788)


Geographic Keywords

Spatial Coverage

min long: -107.271; min lat: 12.383 ; max long: -86.353; max lat: 23.08 ;